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Editor’s Note

James R. Adair

If you were to walk down the streets of San Antonio in the 1860s, you would no doubt hear conversations in English and Spanish, but it is likely that you would also hear people speaking German. The German heritage of San Antonio is reflected in the establishment of such ongoing institutions as the Menger Hotel (founded 1859) and the Pioneer Flour Mills (founded in Fredericksburg in 1851, moved to San Antonio in 1859). To support the growing German-speaking population of the San Antonio area and the Hill Country, German-language newspapers began publication as early as 1852 (Neu-Braunfelser Zeitung) and 1853 (San Antonio Zeitung), not long after the establishment of the state’s first German newspaper, the Galveston Zeitung, in 1846.

Many other people have also brought their languages and cultures to San Antonio over the years. African Americans, many of whose ancestors were brought to Texas or other parts of the U.S. as slaves, established a vibrant community in San Antonio, particularly east of downtown, building churches, businesses, and establishing a literary presence. Jews came to San Antonio in large enough numbers in the 1870s to establish the first synagogue in the city, Temple Beth-El. And of course Native Americans, including the Coahuiltecans and the Comanches, influenced the growing city and the surrounding area in various ways. You will read about many of these communities in the pages of this issue.

Our featured poet is Kinyo Laditan, a San Francisco native born to Nigerian immigrant parents, who now makes his home in San Antonio. His poems reflect the connection of his own American heritage with the history and culture of his parents, and he brings a distinct voice to questions of immigration, multiculturalism, and global concerns. Voices board chair Harold Rodinsky interviews local poet and University of the Incarnate Word professor Josh Robbins, who offers his take on liberal arts education from both a student’s and a teacher’s perspective.

A particularly exciting feature of this issue is the publication of poems that arose out a workshop entitled “Between Two Languages: A Bilingual Poetry Workshop/Entre dos idiomas: Taller de poesía bilingüe,” led by San Antonio Poet Laureate and Voices poetry editor Octavio Quintanilla. The students in the workshop, many of whom were already established poets, reflected on their own personal bicultural and bilingual experiences and wrote poems in English, Spanish, or a mix of both.

Texas State Poet Laureate Carol Coffee Reposa tells her story of some of the formative influences that led her to a life in letters, particularly a sexist and rather abrasive college professor who nevertheless had a positive impact on her development. In remembrance of Veterans Day in this year in which we remember the 100th anniversary of the end of World War One, we include poetry therapy entries from two veterans. And that’s not all: essays, short stories, poems, book reviews, and more. We hope you enjoy this issue that reflects some of San Antonio’s multicultural 300 years of existence.

 


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Themes for future issues
Feb 2019: Freedom of the Press
May 2019: The Moon

Current Voices

 

Documented Strategies

Kinyo Laditan

400 years of immigration and the greatest world builders somehow got fearful of the way they built their world because love seemed like a tough strategy like a wife who can’t believe her husband can be happy AND hardworking all these helping hands the bricks and the steel bars of our future metropolis being kept behind bricks and steel bars stealing the resources we need to build our future metropolis we could’ve been well on our way to the stars with steady streams of the brightest minds from all over the world instead, the hammer has been turned onto its own foundation and there’s nothing for the hopeful to do but document our path around the destruction grab hands and make peace while preparing to build up again preparing our hearts to become seed banks so we can survive this imploding apocalypse with everything that still beats living

 

African Queen

Shanee Cuevas

 

What Moon This Is

Charles Darnell

This is the Harvest Moon, the optimistic moon, promise moon, whisper of cool moon. This is the soft light in the night moon, pointing the way moon, throwing shadows of hands held together to the north moon. Not the Blood moon nor the orange, intolerant moon, Not the liar, cruel moon separating hands. This is the chance moon, The way ‘round cactus and thorn bush and rattler moon, This is the good luck moon, moon of small hopes.

 

Calavera with Monarch

San Antonio Street Art Initiative

 

Greeting Ike

James Ryan

…A bright but underachieving student, he mostly dedicated himself to athletics and probability calculations regarding poker, his favorite indoor sport. He had been a running back with star potential, but his left knee imploded from a fierce tackle in the Tufts game of 1912, and his athletic career abruptly ended. Undaunted, he became a cheerleader. The knee would trouble him lifelong. West Point discipline also bothered him. Like most intuitively recalcitrant cadets, he became a dedicated system-beater. Pipe and cigar smoking were allowed in cadet rooms, but for some arcane reason cigarette smoking was banned. Doing what came naturally, he resisted and hand-rolled his cigs with Bull Durham tobacco and smoked in his room and elsewhere.

He drew discipline reports like peonies draw ants. During his last five months before graduation, he was slugged eighteen times for offenses such as Smoking in Room, Improper Saluting, Unauthorized Visiting, Unaccounted Absences, Lateness, Unclean Room, and excessive whirling on the dance floor, sanitized into Improper Dancing After Being Warned. Of the 164 graduates in his class, he ranked a lowly 125th in discipline. His insouciance continued.…

In 1960 Dwight D. Eisenhower was the most popular person on the planet. And had been for decades. His best-selling memoir Crusade in Europe, about his experiences as Supreme Allied Commander during World War II, was a fixture on American bookshelves. So potent was his popularity that Eisenhower had been wooed by both political parties in 1948 to run for the presidency.

Spooked by the rumor that General Douglas MacArthur might run as the Republican candidate, President Truman even offered to step down to vice president and give Eisenhower the top slot on the Democratic ticket. But the time was not ripe for Ike. He demurred, saying: “Generals in politics are bad for the nation and bad for the Army.” He became president of Columbia University instead. There he remained until January 20, 1953, when he was sworn in as 34th President of the United States.

Named Most Admired Man of the Year twelve times by the Gallup Poll, he had won both presidential elections in 1952 and 1956 by landslides. He would leave his presidency as he had come—acclaimed and admired. No midnight-hour concerns about polishing one’s legacy needed. In 1963, out of office three years, 85% of Americans still liked Ike.…

 

La Casa Color Rosa/The Pink House

Sonya Gonzalez

 

 


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